Syria’s cholera case numbers on the increase

Highly contagious disease has spread quickly in country's north, where many rely on untreated water containing raw sewage

A suspected cholera patient receives treatment at a hospital in north-eastern Syria. Reuters
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The UN on Tuesday said it had recorded 68 deaths from cholera in Syria and more than 800 cases had been confirmed.

"The health crisis started six weeks ago and during this period more than 15,800 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the country by the World Health Organisation," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Devastated by more than 10 years of war, Syria has been experiencing the cholera outbreak since the end of August.

It is attributed to drinking polluted water from the Euphrates River and the irrigation of fields by contaminated springs in the north-east.

The UN said public health awareness campaigns are under way on the causes, symptoms and prevention of cholera.

"Our humanitarian partners say they are facing shortages in cholera supplies, such as medicines and water and sanitation and hygiene supplies," Mr Dujarric said.

Syria has a growing water crisis as a result of the large-scale damage inflicted on its plumbing and sanitation infrastructure during the war.

The WHO says cholera can be caught by consuming food or water infected with the Vibrio cholerae bacteria.

While most cases are mild to moderate, not treating the illness could lead to death.

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Updated: October 18, 2022, 10:32 PM